Banned Books: The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Depending on your definition of spoiler, there may be spoilers here (if you go with a very broad definition).

I loved this book. It is exactly the kind of book that would have been passed from teen to teen back in the pre-internet days when teenagers were exposed to so much less, ahem, like when I was a teenager. Someone with an older sibling, perhaps, would have this book, and would read it, dog-earring the pages where the “good stuff” was. In the case of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky that would be most of the pages. It’s the kind of book that controlling parents who don’t want their kids exposed to the good stuff would want to be completely banning, not just banning it from the classroom provided it even got that far.

It was made into a movie in 2012. From IMDB: “An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.”

Without looking at web page that explains what kinds of challenges books have garnered, let me bullet some things that stood out to me as things parents might not want their kids to read about point them for you and see if I get them all (some are definitely more controversial than others):

  • suicide and mental illness
  • drug and alcohol use
  • cigarette smoking
  • explicit sex scenes including but not limited to a date rape, homosexuality and masturbation
  • physical abuse of a girlfriend by her boyfriend
  • bullying
  • body shaming
  • teen pregnancy and abortion
  •  reckless driving
  • going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a recurrent activity
  • high school girls dating college age men
  • racism
  • sexual abuse of children

There may be more things parents wouldn’t want their precious teenagers exposed to, but that’s enough. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was #10 on the list of top 100 books challenged from 2000-2009.

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